“Here are the two great campaign mysteries at midsummer: Why does Mitt Romney appear to be getting so much traction from ripping a few of President Obama’s words out of context? And why aren’t Romney and other Republicans moving to the political center as the election approaches?” writes E.J. Dionne. (Washington Post)

Politico’s Arena asks: Would Mitt Romney be better for Israel?

Michael Barone asks: How closely does 2004 resemble 2012? (National Review)

Newt Gingrich defends Michele Bachmann and the ‘National Security Five.’ (Politico)

Room for Debate asks: Can school performance be measured fairly? (New York Times)

Jeff Madrick: A big banker’s belated apology. (New York Times)

“The MTA’s recent message to riders is that half a decade of “doomsdays” — regular fiscal crises and too-frequent service cuts — is over. But the doom — in the form of debt and employee benefits — hasn’t gone far. And the opportunity for the MTA’s political overlord to fix the problems is vanishing,” writes Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas. (New York Post)

Heritage’s James Carafano: Day after destruction. (Washington Examiner)

Cato’s Patrick Basham: How Uncle Sam is making us fat. (New York Post)